An Alabama school district is apologising after a mother shared that she picked up her son from school and discovered a bullet wound had been painted on his forehead.
Zakiya Milhouse was horrified to see the realistic looking wound painted on her 7-year-old son Amonn Jackson’s face. He told his mother that it was makeup from drama class. Milhouse acknowledged she signed a permission slip to allow the use of makeup in drama class, but she never imagined it would be something like this.
“This actually happens to our black young men,” Milhouse told Al.com. “If you saw it in person, it looked real.” She added that putting makeup on a child to mimic a bullet wound did not seem like an age-appropriate school lesson.
After Milhouse shared the photo of her son on social media, she said she received an apologetic call from the principal. “He said this was unacceptable,” Milhouse said.
Milhouse also spoke to the teacher, who apologized, she said.
Birmingham City Schools issued the following statement:
“Birmingham City Schools is aware of an image posted by a parent on social media depicting a wound on a student’s head. The student was participating in a theater class unit on stage, film, and special effects.
The teacher sent permission forms home with students making parents aware of the unit and requesting permission to put makeup on students.
Students were asked if they would like the makeup on their hands or faces, and this student chose his face. Students are never forced to participate, and they had the option to skip a design.
The teacher and principal called the student’s mother to apologize for the incident, and the teacher assured the student’s mother that no malice was behind the depiction. The teacher also stated that the only aim in teaching makeup techniques is to help students appreciate and understand the technical elements of performing arts.
As a culturally responsive school system, Birmingham City Schools takes issues like this very seriously and does not condone the graphic nature of this lesson on special effects. We regret any issues and perceptions this incident may have caused, and this portion of the lesson will be removed from the unit.”